Build Your Own PC for Dummies

Build Your Pwn PC For Dummies
© 2009 Mark Chambers
336 pages

Both my increasing interest in learning how to work with computer hardware, and my nephew’s desire to build a gaming computer,  have led to me watching hours of build videos on YouTube, and scrounging around the internet for helpful resources. Although this book was published in 2009, it has a long history of solid reviews, and I was able to find a used copy which included a working DVD.     This beginner’s guide to building a PC first assures reader that it’s not nearly as difficult process as they imagine, and requires minimal tools — usually, just a Phillips-head screwdriver.   Because building a PC is an inherently sequential process —  beginning with the case and motherboard, and building from there —  the book’s organization follows that process.  The initial chapters cover the first steps:   deciding on what kind of machine to build,  finding a case and motherboard that will meet the need, and installing essentials like the power supply,  processor, and RAM.  Once the hard drive is installed, the author shifts to optional-but-likely add-ins like DVD drives, graphics and sounds cards, and other accessories.  The video is divided into similar stages.

Obviously, a book on computer hardware from 2009 is going to be dated at this point, and arguably it was dated upon release given that it includes a chapter on floppy disks, when retail PC builds had stopped carrying  units with floppy disk drives at least three years before. (My family purchased a PC in 2004/2005 that had no floppy disk reader, just USB ports and a never-used reader for zip cards. ) Still,  storage and data transfer (SATA cables were still nosing into the market here)  are the only real age-related weaknesses. The book is designed to be read independent of any other sections, so each starts with the same advice about grounding yourself to prevent any static electricity discharges. The author always uses a joke to introduces these, which gets old quickly if you’re reading it through.  The jokes are not as pervasive on the video, but they’re there. 

Although certain elements of this are badly dated, the basic process remains current, and I think it would be helpful to someone introducing themselves to the idea of building a PC.  Fixing Your Computer: Absolute Beginner’s Guide has more more information on the actual components and what their advertised specs mean, though. 

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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6 Responses to Build Your Own PC for Dummies

  1. CyberKitten says:

    I'm lucky to have a friend who works in IT (for an international company I won't name) and who LOVES building gaming PCs – and who likes being paid in brandy. So, although I have a pretty good idea of how to build one, I just have to sit back and hand him things.

  2. mudpuddle says:

    this is a good place in which to introduce Bob Yoder's theory of bench repair: to wit: if you have a computer or small appliance that's not working, place it on the bench, disassemble it as far as possible, put it all back together and it will work… this theory has been tested many times by myself and other repairmen, and verified beyond any conceivable doubt…

  3. Marian H says:

    I'm in a similar position, looking at building my own computer in the near future, while knowing very little about hardware. A work buddy recommends the Reddit /r/buildapc/

  4. Stephen says:

    Those sound like acceptable wages, but I assume they're given after the work and not before. I've seen someone try to build a PC under the influence, and it got sloppy! (This same guy has also tried to build a PC blindfolded…)

  5. Stephen says:

    That's one of the ones I follow. /r/pcmasterrace is also helpful, but they're more of a gaming-tech subreddit, so there's chatter about the performance differences between this or that chip and this or that motherboard.

  6. Stephen says:

    That would eliminate bad connections, at any rate..

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